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The Death Penalty

The United States is divided about the death penalty--17 states have banned it, while the remaining states have not. From wrongful convictions to botched executions, capital punishment is fraught with controversy. In The Death Penalty: What's Keeping It Alive, award-winning criminal defense attorney Andrea Lyon turns a critical eye towards the reasons why the death penalty remains active in most states, in spite of well-documented flaws in the justice system. The book opens with an overview of the history of the death penalty in America, then digs into the reasons capital punishment is a fixture in the justice system of most states. The author argues that religious and moral convictions play a role, as does media coverage of crime and punishment. Politics, however, plays the biggest role, according to the author, with no one wanting to look soft on crime. The death penalty remains a deadly political tool in most of the United States.
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Table of Contents

Dedication Acknowledgments Historical Timeline of the Death Penalty Countries with and without the Death Penalty States with and without the Death Penalty Preface 1: The Death Penalty Yesterday and Today 2: Moral and Religious Underpinnings of the Death Penalty 3: The Media as a Messenger of Death 4: The Death Penalty as a Political Tool 5: The Failure and Fate of Capital Punishment

About the Author

Andrea D. Lyon is an award-winning criminal defense attorney and Dean of the Valparaiso University Law School. The first woman to be lead counsel in a death case in the United States, she has tried more than 130 homicide cases, more than thirty of which were potential capital cases. Of those nineteen were convicted and found eligible for the death penalty. None of those clients received the death penalty. Lyon is the author of a memoir Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer, as well as other books and articles.


A stinging indictment of the death penalty system, focusing in most closely and importantly on the role of the media, and, especially, the moral corruption that permeates many of the prosecutors' offices that regularly do death penalty cases. A must read for anyone interested in this topic.--Michael L. Perlin, New York Law School This is an impassioned brief against the American death penalty from a knowledgeable criminal justice insider. Experienced capital defense attorney Andrea D. Lyon shows us through her own life's work why capital punishment is--and should be--headed for history's dustbin.--Carol Steiker, Harvard University Andrea Lyon does a superb job capturing the key issues surrounding the death penalty--past and present. Framed from the perspective of a lawyer who has litigated capital cases, Lyon presents the information with a balanced perspective and thoroughly canvasses the legal landscape of the death penalty.--Durant Frantzen, Texas A&M University--San Antonio

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